and they can learn how to operate it themselves, and learn from it!
If you’ve ever seen a young child with an iPad (*casting my mind back to my two year old son this morning*) you may have seen the incredible way that he or she works out exactly what to press in order to move the character or play the video onscreen.
The great way that tablets, and smart phones to a lesser extent, lend themselves to young, independent users, is of course the non-requirement for keyboard or mouse skills, and designers of preschool Apps do generally not use display many words when creating a visually appealing game.
Today, I have been reading about the ‘Hole in the Wall’ programme and ‘minimally invasive education’, which was tested by Professor Mitra in 1999, in Delhi.
Minimally Invasive Education in school professes there are many reasons why children may have difficulty learning, especially when the learning is imposed and the subject is something the student is not interested in, a frequent occurrence in modern schools. Schools also label children as “learning disabled” and place them in special education even if the child does not have a learning disability, because the schools have failed to teach the children basic skills. Minimally Invasive Education in school asserts there are many ways to study and learn. It argues that learning is a process you do, not a process that is done to you.
On 26 January 1999, Professor Mitra’s team carved a “hole in the wall” that separated the NIIT premises from the adjoining slum in Kalkaji, New Delhi. Through this hole, a freely accessible computer was put up for use. This computer proved to be popular among the slum children. With no prior experience, the children learned to use the computer on their own. This prompted Mitra to propose the following hypothesis: ‘The acquisition of basic computing skills by any set of children can be achieved through incidental learning provided the learners are given access to a suitable computing facility, with entertaining and motivating content and some minimal (human) guidance’.
Incredible to think that 15 years ago, Mitra was exploring the affect of independent computer technology on learning. I wonder what he would make of the integration of mobile devices into our society, and whether he would agree that young users having access to tablets is a great benefit for their education and development?